Coalition could tip balance of power in Rustenburg
Politics / 6 August 2016, 4:56pm / Thabiso Thakali
Rustenburg could be the key that will unlock broader cooperation and coalition talks between the DA and the EFF.
This emerged as political parties begin coalition maneuvering after the ANC was stunned by the results of the local government elections in some metros.
The ANC failed to win Rustenburg with an outright majority leaving the door open for the coveted council in the North West to fall in the hands of opposition parties.
If the ANC cannot secure coalition partners the municipality which is highly sought after in the province could become the only council to be run by opposition parties.
Following the election results that showed the ANC had fallen short with 48% of the votes won, the DA and EFF allegedly extended an invite to a group of ANC breakaway independent candidates.
According to the group's leader and former ANC member Rocky Malebana Metsing, one of the first calls he received was from EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu.
This was despite EFF leader Julius Malema on Friday stating that his party had not approached anyone nor has it been approached for coalition talks.
Metsing led Forum 4 Service Delivery, made up of mostly disgruntled former ANC members to a 4 percent share of the votes in Rustenburg.
“He (Shivambu) congratulated me and also invited us to some talks and so did we speak to the DA as well,” said Metsing. “I think that a coalition between opposition parties could be practically possible at this stage.”
Metsing said the door had now been closed behind them and that the possibility of working with the ANC was not an option.
It is understood that the EFF which received 24% of votes in Rustenburg intended to use the municipality as a bait in horse trading with the DA.
According to a provincial EFF leader who is privy to the details but asked not to be named, the party is desperate to test its mettle in government.
“The idea as articulated by the CiC (Julius Malema) before the elections is to adopt a different type of thinking in coalition talks,” said the official. “So ideally the EFF wants Rustenburg and the DA wants Tshwane. The strategy is to work towards cooperation in both municipalities by allowing DA to lead Tshwane and EFF to lead Rustenburg.”
The ANC in Rustenburg however has also set things in motion following the humbling election results in a desperate bid to hold on to the platinum city.
But a coalition between the DA , EFF and the forum without all other small opposition parties would still not be enough to result in the forming of a government in Rustenburg.
Mpho Khunou, coordinator of ANC local elections team and Rustenburg mayoral candidate said talks were going to begin with smaller parties with a view of forming a coalition government.
Khunou said the election results warranted a serious introspection for the ANC not just in Rustenburg.
“We are disappointed, it's a major set back for us not to win outright,” he said. “Obviously this indicated that there is a large chunk of voters who are unhappy with us. We will have to go back and win their trust again. May be this is what the ANC needed, a wake up call.”
Khunou said the ruling party however was prepared to occupy opposition benches in the event that attempts to find coalition partners failed.
The ANC was in the main courting the Freedom Front Plus, African Independent Congress and Botho Community Movement, all who received one percent of the votes each in Rustenburg.